Back to the Future


Children learn to use the telephone. Image: ITN Source archive footage

If you have watched the OEB 2014 Trailer you may have been intrigued by some of the archive clips we used. We had a fascinating time looking through old newsreels and science fiction films as we got the video ready. The vintage edtech really stood out.


We were only able to use very short clips in the finished video so we thought you might like to watch the full versions.



In this 1966 film, complete with stirring music and commentary, we are introduced to ‘Teaching Machines’. The ‘programmed learning’ technology, as they called it, may look rather clunky but you can see that these pioneers were already thinking about many of the same issues that we still address in e-learning today.








Delving further back in the archives, here is the complete 1934 newsreel film of school pupils learning to use the telephone. The teaching style is rather prescriptive – you must “hold the receiver in your left hand” – but the children’s polite telephone manner is priceless.



Many thanks to ITN Source for releasing the footage.

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